WORK EXPERIENCE & BEING BOSSY
Each morning on my commute to my work experience placement, I have been reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. Reading about her experience working at Google and Facebook, along with taking in the personal advice she gives on how women can excel within business, motivated me every morning to do my best during my time at Gleeson, along with finding my career path after my two weeks here.
In the book Sandberg discusses why women gaining leadership roles in the workplace has stalled over the past few years, and gives advice on how to progress as a woman in the business world. One such piece of advice is to always ask for help, regardless of your position within the company. She notes, if an employee does not understand how to perform a certain procedure, this does not mean they are a bad worker and should be fired. In truth, it reflects poorly on the employer for not seeing potential in their employee, wishing to develop their worker, and helping them grow within the business. As a result of this, Sandberg notes the importance of having a mentor within the workplace.
Working with Gemma as my line manager, and working alongside consultants with an average of 11 years’ experience, was extremely valuable; and I have seen them all as my mentors. They were enabling me to develop my knowledge on careers in recruitment and how to be the best possible candidate, or recruiter in the future. As a young Political Science student, I am always keen to learn new skills, grow my network, and experience different opportunities. With this in mind, I wanted to make the most of my time at Gleeson and learn from the experienced consultants. A key piece of knowledge I shall take with me from my time with the Gleeson consultants, is the importance of LinkedIn for a recruiter and candidate. After my time here, my LinkedIn profile should be perfect!
A real bugbear of mine, is the word ‘bossy’ and in 2014, Sandberg endorsed a campaign ‘ban bossy’; urging the term to be banned due to its negative affect on young girls. When male colleagues are called bossy, it seems to be a far more accepted characteristic than when a female colleague is described as bossy. The female is deemed difficult to work with, and too demanding. Sandberg, along with other popular female celebrities, such as Beyoncé, are keen to remove the stigma around this word for women, and so am I.
From a young age, I remember a teacher talking to my mum about a disagreement I had had with another girl at around 10 years old. The teacher looked at me, and said “You were being quite bossy, weren’t you Lucy?”. I remember for a fact that I was not being ‘bossy’, I was simply being assertive over how I felt our playground fun should be organised! Whilst this was all trivial, it made me feel embarrassed for being assertive and being adamant about getting my point across. Surely in the world of business, this is not a bad attribute to have? Whilst I disagree with the certain stigma around the term, after learning more about the recruitment world, I have learned that being ‘bossy’ is actually a great attribute to have. To ensure your candidates act correctly in interviews, turn up on time, and fit the criteria needed for the proposed role, it is vital for both male and female recruiters to get their point across and make the client happy. Women need to be more assertive in the workplace, and the women I have seen at Gleeson are assertive, strategic, and confident in meeting their targets and the desires of the client. My time at Gleeson shadowing women such as Jo Payne and Gemma Saunders has granted me a fantastic opportunity to witness assertive women excel at their jobs.
My morning train ride reading Lean In before entering a fast paced working environment has resulted in me gaining two very insightful weeks. I have learned a vast amount about recruitment, which has aided me in deciding what career path I wish to take once my university degree is finished; along with building an idea of the type of career woman I wish to be, and how I can stand out from my peers whilst on my career path. Being able to watch consultants delve through endless CVs and talk to candidates and clients has given me a valuable insight into what key attributes recruiters look for; be that on a CV or within the phone call. My two weeks at Gleeson have been more informative and enjoyable than I imagined, and with a LinkedIn network full of recruiters, I hope my future job prospects will be forthcoming!
Credit – Lucy Kennett